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v54 (last updated: 5/25/2024)

Pool Night!


Monthly, on a Friday
7:30pm – Practice Play
8:00pm – Match Play

What is Pool Night? Pool Night is a monthly gathering of friends (“poolies”) around a pool table to enjoy the finer things in life, such as music, friendship, food and beverage, and most importantly, the game of billiards. At official events, pool always takes priority. The rules herein shall govern these games.

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Official Events and Hosting Logistics

  1. Official events may be played on any standard pool table (7’, 8’, or 9’), typically in a Poolie’s basement.
  2. The hosting schedule is guided by the prior year’s year-end standings. Since the #1 seed hosts the Championship itself, the #2 seed enjoys the perk of being the first player to host in the new season.
  3. If any player is unable or unwilling to host the month they are scheduled to host, they may choose to defer, in hopes they can work out their schedule for the subsequent month. Such players are allowed two passes, but they must host on the subsequent month, else they opt out of hosting for the cycle.
  4. Quorum Rules: at least 50% of players on the roster are required to participate for the event to be considered an official pool night.
  5. Anyone may seek to host a “Poolie gathering” event at any time, where no games are recorded to the official stats, except 3-ball (so long as there’s a quorum as defined). A night of One Pocket, anyone?
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Roster Player Fees

For the annual championship event, roster players chip-in for the cost of the Trophy (typically <$5 per player). There are no fees for participating in Pool Night, however it is customary to bring bounty when visiting a hosted event, and to provide some if you are hosting yourself. Examples: bottle of wine or booze or a 6 or 12-pack, and/or food (appetizer, pizza, hoagie tray, dessert, etc.).

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Game Stakes

Stakes are as agreed ahead of match play (typical stakes are $2 or $3 per rack, and $5 ante for 3-ball games). Cash is preferred for its cold and hard nature, but Venmo and PayPal are also viable options.

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Scoring and Statistics

Results are transcribed from the board (see Style Guide) to the Pool Night Standings spreadsheet, which tracks Poolie performance and rankings throughout the annual season. A RESULTS email is sent to players on the roster on the Sunday after a qualifying Pool Night.

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Standings, Season, and Championship

Standings are sorted in order of: winning % > most games played > most P3’s > alphabetical. Seasons typically run from February through December, with Championship double-elimination matches played in January. The Double-Elimination brackets are obtained online (e.g. printyourbrackets.com) and is seeded based on Season rankings (also see Championship Play). Players must play at least 30 games to be eligible for the Championship and associated perks. If they fail to reach the required 30 games, they will be slotted to the middle of the seeding for the Championship (e.g. #6 out of 10).

Perks for Top Seed

  • They host the Championship event. (They may opt to pass this to the 2nd seed, who may also pass, etc.)
  • Guaranteed break throughout the Championship event (superior seed always breaks)
  • Choice of team (AFC or NFC) for the Super Pool event, and act as Captain for that team (and the #2 seed is Captain of the opposing team).
  • If they refuse any of these perks, those perks fall to the next ranked person in the standings.
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Championship Play

The game is 9-ball, double-elimination, seeding is based on end-of-season rank. Snapping is good for $2 from your opponent but DOES NOT allow you to advance in the bracket. Same goes for a break & win. A break & run, however, DOES allow you to advance.

The Championship winner receives the Pool Night Shot Glass Trophy, along with any agreed-upon stakes for the top 2 or 3 players.

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General Pool Playing Rules

  • No Sharking: Once play is down for his/her shot. If egregious, group consensus may result in placing a dollar in the dummy pot.
  • Snapped 9’s: Count toward P3’s but you do not have to forfeit the table as the result of snapping. They count as a win in stats, and a loss for the loser, and the loser pays $2 (no matter the stake).
  • 3 Snap Payment: When a player snaps the 9 three times in a row, every playing player (i.e. name on the board) must pay $1 to the snapper. In this case, the loser only pays $1 as well (vs. the stake)
  • Super Shot Payment: When a player sinks all 3 balls on the break in a game of 3-ball, each participating player must pay the winner an additional stake.
  • Push Out: A push out may be initiated by the first shooter, if s/he likes. After the break but before the first shot of the match (and only at that time), if you don't like the way the table lies for your first shot, you can declare a "Push Out". You are then permitted to tap the cue ball however you like (contact rules do not apply). Then, the other player has the choice to either start their turn at shooting or turn it back to the player who pushed out and force them to shoot the crap they just tried to hand you.
  • Priority: When your game is ready, pool matches always take priority over other activities (e.g. jamming)
  • Consultation: A player with their name on the board must be consulted before bypassing them on the board.
  • Absences: If a regular player misses >=5 Pool Nights in a row, they must return with a top-tier bottle of tequila.

White Board (or Chalk Board) Style Guide

  • Play is conducted in the order names appear on the board.
  • The Host shall always be given the option to play the first game of the evening.
  • Players may freely put their names up on the board throughout the evening, so long as they don’t already have a game pending or in progress.
  • A “Perfect 3” (P3) is when a player wins three games in a row, not counting 3-Ball, Snapped 9’s or break-and-runs. Players must yield the table after a P3, but may immediately put their name back up on the board at the end of the list. P4’s and P5’s can be achieved if a player snaps the 9 and/ or breaks-and-runs within a P3 performance.
  • White Board / Chalk Board Style Guide:
    • General format is [name] v [name]; underscore the winner.
    • For a P3, underscore and circle the winner on third and final win
    • Snap the 9 (sink 9 on break): small 9 enclosed in a circle next to snapper’s name for each snap.
    • Break and run: mark with a small “BNR” next to the player’s name.
    • 3-Ball: create a separate list of all participating players listed in their order of play, and associated scores (“X” denotes a 10 or past max); circle the winner.
  • If there’s no more space on the board, take a photo before erasing.
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Dummy Pot

Under the following conditions, put $1 in the Dummy Pot (to be awarded in next 3-ball match):

  • You give unsolicited advice or unsolicited refereeing (see “Refereeing” rule)
  • Excessive Sharking (as determined by majority, host, and/or commissioner)
  • Any ball off the table (object balls should be spotted; see “Pocketing & Spotting” rule)
  • Any non-legal break (if this is due to a ball off the table, it is just a $1 penalty total; see “Legal Break” rule)
  • You ring the Nice Shot Bell for yourself, or request that it be rung in your honor
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Players must have at least one foot on the ground while making any shot.

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Ball, Pocket and/or Rail Contact

The cue ball must legally contact at least one ball, and subsequently, an object ball must be pocketed, or the cue ball or at least one object ball must contact a rail. Otherwise, it’s a scratch. This rule is not applicable in 3-Ball matches.

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Frozen Balls

If two balls are touching (“frozen”), hitting away from it does not count as contact.

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Ball Movement

Touching or moving balls on the table (accidental or otherwise):

  • Cue ball: foul (except the break, and ball-in-hand scenarios, up until the shot it taken)
  • Object ball: not a foul -- spot it in its original place as needed and agreed to by the opponent
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Lag Test

When a lag test is the agreed-to method used to determine who breaks, the lag winner is the person who lands closest to the near rail (bouncing off the rail is OK). Ball must stay on players’ side of table – no touching side rails, falling in pockets, or fully crossing over the middle of the table.

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A scratch or other foul results in:

  • BIH (ball-in-hand - place cue ball anywhere on table): Cutthroat, 8-ball, 9-ball, 10-ball, Soviet Pool, Kelly Pool
  • Behind the head string (a.k.a. “the kitchen”): 3-ball, Straight Pool, One Pocket
  • Three successive fouls result in loss of game, but opposing player must issue warning after two
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BIH (ball-in-hand)

When the cue ball is in hand, the player may place the cue ball anywhere on the bed of the table, except in contact with an object ball. S/he may continue to adjust the cue ball until he takes a shot.

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Called Pockets

In games where Called Pockets are required:

  • Not applicable on break shots (except for Straight Pool, unless agreed to by players for quicker play)
  • If the called ball fails to sink in your called pocket, your turn is over
  • Kisses, combos, caroms, cushions and secondary balls sunk are legal and need not be specified, so long as the called ball goes into the called pocket
  • “Obvious” shots don’t need to be called, but use discretion – for example, combos and banks aren’t always obvious, so the intended ball and pocket should be specified
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Pocketing & Spotting

All pocketed balls remain pocketed unless otherwise stated in game-specific rules. All spotted balls must be placed at the Foot Spot, or if occupied, directly behind the obstruction.

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Break-&-Wins vs. Break-&-Runs
(BNW and BNR on the board, respectively)

A BNW is when player breaks and proceeds to win, even if there are balls left on the table (e.g., a 1-9 combo constitutes a break & win).

A BNR (a "proper" break-and-run) is when player breaks and proceeds to win, with NO balls remaining on the table.

In regular season play, both types of runs in a game of 7, 8, 9, or 10 ball results in the loser paying $2 dollars and taking the loss. Both the loser of the match and the winner have the option of a rematch, akin to "snapped 9" scenarios. If either player is not interested in a re-match, the remaining player is eligible to play the next player on the board (even if the standing player has won 3 in a row; raising the potential of a P4+).

Any BNW or BNR in the Championship: Player advances in the brackets.

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Except in the game of 3-Ball, a player may request one time-out per rack to solicit input from one person (coach) of his/her choice. Advice on shot selection, speed or strategy may not be given without the player declaring a time-out and choosing a coach to give advice (see Dummy Pot rules). After-shot comments are OK, and railbird-to-railbird commentary is encouraged. Teammates in doubles matches may freely share advice, but should be mindful of the amount of time spent deliberating.

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Only an active player or his opponent may call a play or rule into question if s/he believes there is an issue in need of clarification. Anyone offering unsolicited advice must contribute $1 to the Dummy Pot.

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Nice Shot Bell

You should not ring the Nice Shot Bell for your own shots, nor should you request that the Nice Shot Bell be rung in your honor. The Nice Shot Bell should be reserved for truly nice shots and other remarkable events (example: someone’s fly is open). Violations result in $1 in the Dummy Pot.

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Game-Specific Rules


2 to 16 players. Each player attempts to pocket 3 balls in the least number of shots, including break.

  • Each player is granted a turn at random, for example by selecting a numbered pea from a Kelly Bottle. Players shoot in order and rack for the next player. Last player racks for first.
  • Consults are not permitted in 3-ball.
  • 3-ball rack: 3 random balls in a triangle at the Foot Spot
  • You do not have to call your pockets.
  • Standard Contact rule does not apply (see “Contact” rule above)
  • 10 is maximum score
  • Only balls off-table are spotted
  • Scratches count as an extra shot (even on the “winning” shot)
  • Following a scratch, the cue ball must be placed in the kitchen (behind the head-string)
  • In the case of a tie, the winning players repeat the process (but no re-ante, unless agreed) until there is one winner left standing. Kelly peas are drawn again after each tie to determine break order. Players in a playoff may decide to split the pot, but they must continue playing to determine a winner of the match.


Stripes vs. solids; after all balls in set are cleared, sink 8-ball to win

  • 8-ball rack: triangle (1-15) – 8 in the center, stripe and solid on the wings, all else random
  • You must call your pockets
  • Your ball group (stripe or solid) is determined by the first legally sunk after the break. Until a called pocket is sunk, it remains open table, and all balls are neutral except the 8.
  • Once established, only your ball group is neutral (neither the 8-ball nor the opponent’s ball group is neutral). Failure to hit your ball first results in ball-in-hand.
  • Scratch on the 8-ball or sink it in an uncalled pocket, you lose, with the following exceptions:
    • If you fail to hit the 8-ball first on an 8-ball shot, it’s ball-in-hand
    • If you fail to satisfy the Contact Rule, it’s ball-in-hand
    • If you knock ball(s) off the table, spot them, and it’s ball-in-hand
  • It’s OK to sink your opponent’s ball, but you must strike your ball first, and to continue your turn, your called ball must fall into the called pocket
  • 8-ball sunk on the break wins; 8-ball sunk and scratch on the break loses

7-ball, 9-ball and 10-ball

Strike lowest ball on table first; sink 9-ball any time to win

  • Rack: various; 9 always at center and 1 at the Foot Spot, all else random
  • Called pockets not required except on the 9-ball. Exception: in 10-ball, all pockets are called.
  • If you call the 9 and miss it, your turn is over (even if you sink another ball in the process)
  • If you call the 9-ball but sink it in the wrong pocket, you must spot the 9 at the Foot Spot and the other player gets ball in hand (even if another ball was legally pocketed in the process)
  • If you commit a foul and also sink the 9-ball (on a break shot or otherwise), you must spot the 9 at the Foot Spot and give your opponent ball-in-hand
  • If you sink the 9-ball without calling it but do not otherwise commit a foul, the cue ball stays where it lies and the 9-ball is spotted. If another ball was legally sunk, your turn continues.
  • 9-ball sunk on the break (without a scratch) wins (this is a “snapped 9”)


3-player game of elimination; protect your 5 balls, sink the rest

  • Cutthroat rack: triangle (1-15) – 1 at the Foot Spot, 6 and 11 on the wings
  • Draw Kelly Peas for shot order and ball assignments (1,6,11 peas)
  • Called pockets not necessary; all balls neutral
  • Spot sunken balls on fouls – otherwise, pocketed balls remain pocketed

One Pocket

Sink 8 balls in your designated pocket before your opponent

  • One Pocket rack: triangle (1-15) – fully random
  • Prior to break, the breaking player declares ownership of a pocket at the foot end of the table. Opponent is assigned the other pocket at the foot end.
  • Called pockets not necessary; all balls neutral
  • Balls must be spotted if sunk during a scratch, or when pocketed in undesignated pockets (shooter may wait until end of turn do so)
  • Balls legally sunk in an opponent’s pocket are credited to the opponent

Kelly Pool

2 to 15 player game of elimination – pocket your secret ball

  • Kelly Pool rack: triangle (1-15) – 1 at the Foot Spot, 2 and 3 on the wings, 15 in the center
  • Player order determined by draw from pill bottle
  • Secret ball assignments determined by separate draw from pill bottle
  • Must hit lowest ball first (as in 9-ball); called shots not necessary
  • Spot sunken balls on fouls at Foot Spot
  • Pocket your secret ball to win
  • When your secret ball is pocketed by another player, you are “dead”, and you owe the player who killed you $1 – but you keep playing in rotation
  • You must tell other players you are dead before your next shot – $1 penalty if you don’t.
  • Unless 15 is your secret ball, combos on 15 ball not allowed (must spot if so)
  • If everyone is “dead”, person who sinks 15 ball (last ball on table) wins
  • If you draw the 15 pill, you must sink the 15 to win (and for you, combo on 15 is allowed)
  • If you draw the 16 pill, you are assigned the cue ball. You must hit the lowest ball first, then scratch the cue ball to win. If someone else hits the lowest ball first then scratches, you’re dead.

Scratch Pool (a.k.a. “Reverse 8-ball”, “Soviet Pool”, “Russian Pool”)

Rules are identical to 7/8/9/10-ball, but carom the object ball off the cue ball and into the pocket after normal break.

Straight Pool (“14.1 Continuous”)

1 point per ball; race to 25, 50, 100, 150 or 200

  • Straight Pool rack:
    • 1st rack: triangle (1-15) – fully random
    • Subsequent racks: triangle (1-14) – empty at the Foot Spot, fully random
  • Scoring:
    • Add 1 point for each ball sunk (including secondary balls sunk after called pocket)
    • Subtract 1 point for each scratch, and spot a ball (purpose: to keep rack scoring clean)
    • Any balls sunk on a scratch shot do not count and should be spotted (in addition to the penalty ball).
  • Spot any balls sunk on scratch at Foot Spot (or closest available behind foot spot if space is occupied)
  • You must call your pockets; all balls neutral
  • All balls must be cleared until there is one object ball left, at which point the 14 sunken balls must be re-racked so that play may continue
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